By Skip Williams, KingsBridge BCP:
Not long ago I was asked the question, “So we have this Business Continuity Plan. All of the steps are documented, the contact information is confirmed, and the supporting documentation is up to date. Now what?” A great question! And one that requires a little bit of explanation.
The Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is simply that: a plan to help your business continue operating when there is a disaster. As my inquiring associate said, it should include everything your business needs in order to continue operations after an incident. But there needs to be a structure in place at your business in order to maintain this plan. Hence the Business Continuity Program.
Business Continuity Program
The Business Continuity Program lays out all of the steps to make sure your plan is enacted smoothly when a disaster occurs. It includes a plan of action for:
- Socializing the plan throughout your business. Your people can’t use it if they don’t know about it!
- Maintaining the plan content. The information in your plan is only as helpful as it is accurate, so it needs to be reviewed on a regular basis.
- Training employees. Everyone at your business needs to know what to do – and what not to do – when the BCP is enacted.
- Exercising the plan. Ask your employees to sit down and run through the BCP in a hypothetical scenario (like a fire, bomb threat, or earthquake). As we describe above, exercising helps to socialize and maintain the plan, as well as train staff on their roles.
- Auditing the plan against industry standards. Different industries or countries have different requirements for their BCPs. That is why it is important that your BCP comply with appropriate standards for a successful recovery. Part of ongoing improvement is taking action to remediate any issues found in your own audit. Your Business Continuity Program is valuable in addressing gaps and keeping your plan updated.
This might seem like a lot of work when you are just starting out, so start small. Start with scheduling how often each of these are completed (quarterly, annually, or every three years). Then decide how they will be completed. In Part 1 of “BCP on a Budget”, we suggest that you use evacuation drills to do a quick exercise by asking employees what they would do if they could not re-enter the building for the day. Other ideas include socializing the plan by adding it to the agenda for department meetings or including BCP responsibilities in employees’ job descriptions and performance reviews.
Develop Now So You Are Prepared!
No matter the methods used, putting the time and effort into developing the Business Continuity Program now will save you and the business from missteps if (or when) disaster strikes later.
About KingsBridge: KingsBridgeBCP offers businesses of all sizes BCP Software Solutions and industry know how based on best practices. From a FREE Edition to a Platinum Edition there is a Shield for everyone. Our software packages are customized to meet the wide range of our customers’ needs, ensuring we deliver the best value in every project. To learn more about KingsBridge click here.